Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teaching / Learning in a Web 2.0 World

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

Over the past year I believe I have evolved as an education technology leader. I have immersed myself in the Web 2.0 world - always looking to share and receive information from those who share similar careers and interests. It is because of this willingness to share my perspectives, ideas, thoughts and vision that I, in turn, receive the thoughts and ideas of my colleagues.

So why haven't educators (all educators) embraced this same philosophy for sharing information? If I were still in the classroom teaching and had free tools at my fingertips that allowed me to connect with similar teachers in my subject area, you bet I would take advantage of those tools and reach out to my fellow teachers - sharing lesson plans, activities, problems, etc. in hopes of receiving ten fold in return. But, for some reason this philosophy is not as common as it should be. Why? Is it because some teachers are afraid of sharing their work with others - putting it out there - afraid it isn't "good enough"? Do they simply not wish to take the extra time to participate in the social networking community?

Fortunately, our district does have a handful of teachers who openly embrace this concept and are always more than willing to share with our district teachers, as well as teachers across the world. These are the teachers I want my kids to have one day. A teacher that embraces a global education, where communities are not where you live, but rather where you go to share information, solve problems and collaborate on projects. I firmly believe once all educators embrace this philosophy - we will begin to see student engagement rise, student learning will improve and teacher excitement will be as high as ever.

To date I rely on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, LinkedIn, Blogger, Ning, Flickr and other social networking applications to convey my thoughts/information/vision. These tools allow me to connect with other CIOs and Ed Tech leaders across the globe. I could not imagine doing my job moving forward without all of these tools playing a role in my decision making process - in some way, shape or form.

So - my challenge to you. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, CIO or other faculty/staff. Seek out a personal learning network or a social networking site that is geared towards your particular subject area / area of expertise and start sharing your knowledge with others. I believe you will be amazed at what you begin to receive.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

iPhone 3.0 Experience - Day 8

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

I have had a little over a week of using the new OS for the iPhone and have found myself quite attached to some of the new features and forgetting others are there.

First and foremost, the cut, copy and paste addition has been huge. I have already found multiple instances of copying material from the web or text messages to pass along and share with others with little effort. Prior to 3.0 - this process involved retyping the content I needed to share.

I have also found myself relying on the "Search iPhone" feature that has been added. A few times I needed to quickly find information and I couldn't remember whether I had that info in my contacts, email or another location. The search feature saved me valuable time in quickly finding the info I needed.

I really thought I would have utilized the landscape keyboard more than I have, but I have found (personally) it is just as easy to type with the portrait keyboard as it is with the landscape. I believe that is primarily because I am so familiar and comfortable with typing that way on the iPhone now.

I also have under utilized the Voice Memo feature. I am sure one day I will find a relevant use for this.

A few items I neglected to mention last week that I have discovered and found useful are:
  • The ability to purchase TV shows, movies and books from iTunes. I completely forgot this wasn't available in 2.0.
  • Parental Controls - while this obviously serves me no purpose, I applaud Apple for placing this in the OS and giving parents a piece of mind when their children are using this device.
I will continue to keep you updated on my experience with the greatest device I have had the privilege of using.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iPhone 3.0 Experience

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Wednesday June 17, 2009 - 2:15pm CST

I begin downloading the 230MB file known as - iPhone 3.0OS. I am patiently waiting...

Download completes at approximately 2:30pm CST - backup / sync begins.

**"Unable to connect to iPhone Activation Server"....2:35 pm CST**

Wednesday June 17, 2009 - 2:40 pm CST

I am patiently waiting as my iTunes and iPhone sync the latest apps, songs, videos, etc. that I have downloaded since my last sync.

Sync process is complete - Round 2 of 3.0 Upgrade begins.....2:44pm CST.

"Preparing iPhone for software update...".......2:45pm CST

"Waiting for iPhone"........2:47pm CST

"Updating iPhone software".....2:48pm CST

"Verifying updated iPhone software"....2:53pm CST

"Updating iPhone Firmware".....2:59pm CST

"Software Updated...iPhone restarting".....3:02pm CST

Wednesday June 17, 2009 - 3:08pm CST

Second backup of the day is taking place...after disaster a few months ago, I am ok with this.

"iPhone is activated"....3:09pm CST

Backup still running.....3:12pm CST

Backup complete...time for testing....3:21pm CST

Wednesday June 17, 2009 - 3:22pm CST

1 hour and 7 minutes after beginning the download and installation of OS 3.0, I have it ready for testing. Here are my findings:

  • PRO: I like the new "search iPhone" feature located towards the bottom left, where you typically rotate through pages. I like the fact it searches apps, inboxes and other items. A- for this improvement.
  • PRO: Voice Memos - this seems to be a nice addition as well. The ability to record notes, etc. on the fly and have them stored in an organized fashion is nice. Although, I believe there were already apps available to do this function. B- for this enhancement.
  • PRO: Copy and Paste - I tested this within Messaging and found it very easy to use. I have been waiting a long time for this improvement. A+
  • PRO: Landscape Keyboard - This is a major improvement. I tested this on messages and emails and found it much easier to type, even though I have become fairly proficient with the old keyboard layout. B+ for this enhancement.
  • PRO: Enhanced Stock App - I do enjoy the ability to view stock charts in landscape mode. It provides more data than the previous view. B
  • PRO: I do like the "shake to shuffle" feature in the iPod. Fun. B
  • PRO: I also like the fact when viewing your calls - the phone numbers / contact has more detail now. "Home, Mobile or Work" are included below the name - so instead of having to guess or provide an extra "click" - the user can easily see which number called. A-
  • CON: MMS is not available since I am an AT&T customer. This was one feature I was looking forward to. I hope AT&T does not make us wait more than a few weeks. C for Apple and D- for AT&T
  • CON: Tethering is not available either. I was also greatly looking forward to this feature, because as I travel and stay in hotels or other locations, the ability to use the Internet (especially in 3G locations) allows me not to fork over $12.99 to the hotel for a service that should already be free. C- for Apple F for AT&T
All in all - I am pleased with the new features. My only hope is I do not have to wait too long for the two features/enhancements that I was most looking forward to.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cell Phones in the Classroom

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via Wikipedia

When this topic is brought up for discussion there are often those to the far right and those to the far left, very few in the middle. Most traditional educators look at cell phones as distractions, disruptions and even a way to cheat. However, most forward thinking educators view cell phones as a way to connect students, allow them to communicate and collaborate and also teach proper use and digital citizenship.

As technology continues to change and our cell phones become more than just a device for placing phone calls or sending text messages - shouldn't we as educators look at how to integrate these devices rather than find ways to remove them? Too many times I hear of educational leaders searching for a solution to ban cell phones, enforce punishments for cell phone use or seeking a way implement a cell phone jammer. What if we took all that time and energy of searching for a way to remove these devices and applied it towards finding a way to safely and effectively implement them into daily instruction.

What if our educators took time out of each day to reinforce the proper, safe and secure way of using these devices - not only inside the walls of the classroom - but outside as well? Don't you believe that would begin to reduce the number of inappropriate uses (sexting)?

I firmly believe that these devices have a place inside our walls. Too many school districts do not have the funds to implement a 1:1 solution where they go out and purchase a device for every student. But how many of those same students already have a Wi-Fi, Internet ready, app store / iTunes loaded device sitting in their pocket? Imagine every student in your high school utilizing a device they already own and you simply have to provide a safe and secure environment for them to use it? Isn't that a better use of dollars?

It was announced today that as a part of the new iPhone upgrades - iTunes will start offering textbooks through its online store. Apple has taken a bold step by partnering with major textbook companies - realizing that positions their device to be a major player within K-12 and Higher Education.

My district is not ready to allow our students to bring cell phones in tomorrow. But my hope is that we can begin educating our faculty/staff and administration on how to effectively implement these devices, rather than continuing to spend valuable time and resources researching how to remove them.

How is this issue being handled in your district? Are you currently allowing cell phone usage in your classrooms? If not, why? Do you want these devices in your school? What sort of potential do you see for their use?

Here are some reads I came across today discussing this issue:

Students Turn Cell Phones on For Classroom Lessons
Industry Makes Pitch that Smartphones belong in the Classroom
Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

KySTE Summer Conference

Giving The Signal! (Rubik's Cube)Image by Gojca via Flickr

Not in an effort to provide a shameless plug for the organization of which I am an officer, but rather to promote an up and coming technology conference - I offer a preview of the 2009 KySTE Summer Conference.

The 2009 KySTE Summer Conference is scheduled for June 17-19 in Shepherdsville, KY (which is approximately 15 minutes south of Louisville, KY). The conference will be housed at North Bullitt High School, a part of the Bullitt County School District.

After last year's successful event in Campbell County, KY - I fully anticipate this year's event to be as successful as our organization and conference continue to grow. We have a full slate of quality vendor partners who are prepared to engage the educational technology leaders of our state in discussions and presentations. We also have numerous ed tech leaders who are prepared to share their own experiences and projects in a variety of sessions.

I have a few members of my staff who will be making the trip up to Shephersville in a couple of weeks and my hope is they get as much out of this event, as I did last year.

Check back in a couple of weeks for a full review of the event and the highlights from sessions I attend and vendors I spoke with.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, June 1, 2009

Google Wave

Google, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

I have seen many communication and collaboration tools over the past few months / years, but this tool has the potential to be something special. This video is a Developer Preview from the Google I/O 2009.

This blog post also highlights many of the features and key concepts of Wave:


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Ed Tech Resources

Here a few resources and reads I came across today:


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]